I’m lucky to have friends who try to be supportive of my “new lifestyle.”
But their attempts to be inclusive of me are often ludicrous. Like the time a friend tried to offer me a place for Shavuos.
If I were single and living at home, I wouldn’t need a place – I’d be with my parents. If I were married, I’d be with my husband and kids. If I were still frum but living on my own, I’d be invited to various homes in the community.
Since I wasn’t celebrating or observing Shavuos (though I did buy huge quantities of cheesecake), I didn’t try to find a place to be. I was planning on doing schoolwork.
When my friend heard this, she invited me to come to her for Shavuos. I hadn’t seen her in a while, so I wanted to take advantage of this invitation.
Part of her offer was that in her shul, they lein the aseres ha’dibros really beautifully. I didn’t tell her that that tidbit of info made me slightly less inclined to want to come.
But I did say that if I came, it could only be for one meal – I couldn’t carve out two full days from my schedule. And since she was not within walking distance from my apartment, we knew what that meant.
She said she’d have to ask a shailah and get back to me.
Now, while I had no interest in being at a Shavuos seudah, I did want to spend time with my friend. So while I waited for her response, I did some research of my own.
Turns out, most rabbonim agree that if you invite someone who is too far to walk home, but you offer them a place to sleep, you’re covered if they choose to drive (or in my case, take the train) home.
I even went so far as to call the shailah hotline and speak to a rav. (I posed as the one who had invited a non-frum friend… I had this niggling feeling the approach might be different if I revealed the true situation.)
So it was all fine and dandy. I called my friend, told her the answer I got was that she’s covered. After all, she was the one who needed to be not sinning or causing others to sin. Me? I didn’t consider it a sin, so I was fine.
She wasn’t comfortable with it, even if a rav said it was okay. So I didn’t go.
I felt bad that I didn’t get to spend time with her, but honestly I was a little relieved that I wouldn’t have to pretend to be awed by the beauty of the leining.
2 thoughts on “An OTD Shailah for the Rabbi”
So thoughtful of you to ask a sheila and do all that legwork for her. Pity she couldn’t return the favor by not being frummer than the rabbis.
A friend pointed out that we frown on people who don’t accept their rabbi’s chumros, and ‘shop’ for a kula. But for some reason it’s okay to not accept your rabbi’s ‘kulos’ and it’s okay to shop around for chumros.
Fascinating! And true.
I love this friend, but as with everything – it’s complicated.